Carolyn, Thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my blog.
Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
First, thank you for interviewing me here, and hello to everyone reading this! By day I am a SQL Server database administrator, which, despite the thrill-a-minute job title, it actually not 100% thrilling. In fact, my job is primarily to ensure there are as few thrills as possible. Before and after the day job, I am the parent of an almost 14 year-old boy who is, well, a teenager now. But he’s a good kid. Also before and after the day job and in between parenting and avoiding housework, I write historical and paranormal romance– when I’m not sleeping.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing seriously since I was 27, with a rather long and discouraging gap between books number 2 and number 3.
What is your writing process like?
From the reactions I get from other writers; frightening.
I am what is referred to as a seat of the pants writer. Which means I do relatively little plotting in advance. Instead, I discover my story by writing about my characters. I have tried very, very hard to plot in advance, but so far it’s been a failure, I would even say it’s been disastrous for me.
A few books ago, I decided I no longer wanted to feel like a failure as a writer because filling out character charts and identifying goals and motivation was something I could not successfully do. So I stopped doing that and my writing life improved immeasurably.
All that plotting and charting and identifying in advance, for me, ended up being a waste of time because as soon as I started writing, my characters did not to fit into the plot I devised or they had different and more interesting motivations.
I say more power to the people for whom these things work! There are some very fine writers who are advance plotters, but I am not one of them.
Instead, I put together a bare bones framework so I can keep track of what’s happening on the pages, do massive amounts of brainstorming in a notebook and rarely know what’s going to happen more than three chapters in advance. I plunge into the writing and as themes, goals, motivation, conflicts and other events develop and take on heft and shape, I go back and rewrite, re-order and delete, sometimes on a massive, massive scale.
My bare-bones outline (which I update to reflect the events as I write) helps me see where I have an arc in the wrong place or am missing one or two. I see it as an organizational tool, not a blueprint. When I hit 60-70,000 words, I almost never look at my outline again. At that point, the plot is in place. I have at times deleted up to 30,000 words at once, and let me tell you that is a frightening thing when you’re on deadline.
Deadlines, however, tend to turn off my internal editor. The writing flows better when I am in a panic and convinced I’ll never finish in time and what was I thinking when I thought I could ever write a book?
Can you tell us about your newest release My Forbidden Desire? This is the second book in a series correct?
My Forbidden Desire is set in the same world as its predecessor, My Wicked Enemy in which Xia, the hero of My Forbidden Desire was a major secondary villain – through no fault of his own, I should add.
The book is set in a world where magic-using humans (the magekind) protect humans from fiends and other demonic creatures. Unfortunately, the magekind have mostly forgotten their role as protectors. They enslave fiends and even perform ritual murders of fiends that prolong the mage’s life. As you might image, fiends are not so happy with this state of affairs, and they’re starting to fight back.
Xia is a fiend who was once enslaved by a mage. He’s not very happy when he’s tasked with protecting a witch. The heroine, Alexandrine, isn’t very pleased to have Xia in her life, either. If they don’t learn to work together, however, they might both end up dead.
Do you have any other books coming out this year?
What are you currently working on?
I’m finishing up a proposal for another historical and then I’ll be starting in on another paranormal romance about fiends and mages.
I noticed on your website that you write both paranormal and historical books, what is it like write in two distinct romance sub genres?
There are certainly challenges to writing in more than one genre, but I find they have different requirements – of tone, setting, and the like and that it’s refreshing to switch off between the two. I adore history. I’m a history junkie, and I’m fascinated by the tensions created by the roles imposed on men and women in the past. Exploring those consequences is a lot of fun. Paranormals, of course, aren’t limited by historical realities (since I don’t, as of yet, write historical paranormals. I can be much freer with vocabulary and gender roles are far less limited. That’s a lot of fun, too!
Since I write for more than one publisher I also have to be very careful about when my due dates are scheduled. That’s certainly a challenge all on its own.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
From the depths of my sick and depraved mind. Kidding, of course. I don’t think I’m sick at all.
Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. Other books, movies, the news, daydreams, dreams, nightmares, you name it.
As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?
Yes, I am an avid reader and have been since the moment I learned to read. I enjoy just about everything. I tend to go through phases where I read more, say, historical romances than mystery, or lots of fantasy and less literary fiction. Or, conversely, I’ll read a lot of literary fiction and less of something else.
Auto buy authors for me include in no particular order, Charlaine Harris, JR Ward, Patrick Rothfuss, Lee Child, Toni Morrison and George RR Martin.
What books are on your keeper shelf?
Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is a definite keeper. I was blown away by this book. George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series. All of the Sookie Stackhouse books, JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books, several of Catherine Coulter’s older historicals (The Wild Baron is one of my favs!). There’s a lot of Mary Balogh’s books on my keeper shelf, too. Many of Sherillyn Kenyon’s and Suzanne Brockmann’s books are keepers. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series, Harry Potter, and just about anything by Cornelia Funke.
The sad thing is, I could go on. But I won’t.
What was the first romance book you read or the first romance book that has stood the test of time?
Oh, good question. I’m not actually sure what my first romance was. Probably something by Patricia Holt. I loved those gothics! I think Catherine Coulter’s The Wild Baron was probably the book that cemented my deep love for passionate romance. I also vividly recall reading Mary Balogh’s A Summer to Remember and wondering why on earth I’d never heard of her before then and what kind of rock I was living under to be so ignorant. I bought that book on a total whim and then let it sit around for months before I decided I ought to read the darn thing. It was the start of a passionate affair with her work.
If one of your books was made into a movie, which book would you like it to be and which actors would like to see as the lead characters?
I have spent many idle hours musing on this subject not to mention spending all the money that would surely flow my way.
Scandal would be awesome to see on film, even though it’s probably not at all suited to the media. I wrote a novella called DX for the anthololgy Shards of Crimson and I think that would make a great movie. In fact, I think Liz Maverick’s Crimson City series would be a fantastic series of movies. (Yours truly wrote A Darker Crimson book four in the series.)
As to actors, I’d have a hard time casting anything since I don’t watch TV and prefer action films and anything with Jet Li in it. Possibly I would cast Colin Firth just on principle, as long as he was dressed as Mr. Darcy. Gerard Butler as a Spartan was pretty awesome, I have to say.
If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?
Hmm. Sophie Evans from Scandal because she’s an author and married to Lord Banallt. Or maybe Alexandrine Marit from My Forbidden Desire because she can do magic and is hooked up with the amazing and hunk-a-licous Xia.
If you were not writing, what would you be doing?
I actually have no idea whatever. Sleeping maybe? But probably reading. Writing, I fear, was pretty much inevitable for me.
When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?
I enjoy baking and taking pictures of the flowers in the garden. How lame is that? I also love, with all capital letters, action films and if a movie has Jet Li in it all the better! I go to the movies a decent amount.
If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?
Is there a way to make you love my books and rush out to buy them all? Or, alternatively, what’s your favorite recipe? Feel free to email me your answers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Carolyn Jewel and her books please visit her website at: http://www.carolynjewel.com/
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